Does Islam promote Sufism?

Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World

When he was on stage and that Dhikr carried out, says Essam Abdou, then it was as if he were flying. Then he felt the energy of his band mates spread over him, who, together with him, indulged in the Sufi ritual of pronouncing the name of God rhythmically, faster and faster, louder and louder, to the point of ecstasy. Everything negative then left him. It was like a meditation, says Abdou and immediately improves: No, it was better than that. You go to the extremes with your voice - and with your soul.

Essam Abdou himself was not even a Sufi, a follower of the mystical currents of Islam. And it isn't today either. A year ago, the now 34-year-old Egyptian even left the Sufi band "Al Hadra", which he co-founded and in which he sang. Not in a good way.

In order to understand the reasons for this, one needs to know a little more about Sufism - and about Egypt today, five years after the end of the rule of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the assumption of power by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the president, who called for a second in the spring Term was elected.

From "Sisi mania" to open rejection

When Sisi deposed the then President Mohamed Mursi on July 3, 2013, the personality cult around the new strong man seemed to grow immeasurably. So great were the wounds of the revolution and the ensuing confused struggle between the Islamists, the secular revolutionaries and the supporters of the old regime, so great were the longing for peace and order that many Egyptians were happy to see a military at the helm again. The catchphrase "Sisi-Mania" made the rounds, there were devotional items up to chocolate and underwear, and politicians and ordinary citizens outbid each other in honors.

And today? "Everything was better under Mubarak," say some Egyptians when asked about the poor state of the economy. Or: "Sisi, go away!" - a hashtag that read like this recently made the rounds on the internet again. Sisi was so hit that he even commented on it in a speech and complained that his commitment to the country was not being appreciated. Especially in western-oriented circles, people openly make fun of the president.

But of course the 97 percent approval that Sisi received in March in the - heavily controlled - re-election was not a completely invented result. And on the other hand, fear is mixed in with the mockery. Shortly after taking power, the regime began to systematically limit the space for the opposition and for civil society, which had exploded during the 2011 Arabellion.

Everything under control

The most recent measure is a new media law. If the president signs it, distributing "fake news" is a punishable offense, with all websites, blogs and social network accounts that have more than 5,000 subscribers being considered media. In any case, according to the organization "Reporters Without Borders", Egypt is currently "one of the largest prisons for journalists in the world".

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Arabellion, dance, Revolution in Egypt 2011, Egypt's military, human rights, Mohamed Mursi, Muslim Brotherhood | Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Mysticism | Sufism, Salafists / Salafism, Tahrir Square
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